Wood Wins Second LRRS “Dash for Cash” Race in 2013
Doucette Also Repeats in Lightweight Grand Prix
The second round of the Loudon Road Race Series ran on May 18 and 19 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway under sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. The event was well supported by the riders with the largest entry numbers the series has seen over the past few seasons.
The increase in rider count meant some of the most competitive races the series has featured in recent memory, and created the challenge of navigating heavier lapped traffic.
Middleweight Grand Prix “Dash for the Cash”
At the drop of the green flag, Tyler Sweeney got the jump from the outside of the front row to grab the holeshot, with Eric Wood, Shane Narbonne, Scott Greenwood and Cory Hildebrand following closely behind. Wood and Narbonne, who finished 1-2 in the April race, quickly relegated Sweeney to third position by the end of the first lap.
The lead group of riders ran nose-to-tail for the for first few laps, but Wood and Narbonne were able to edge away little by little each lap, leaving Sweeney, Greenwood and a hard-charging Christian Cronin to fight for the last spot on the podium. Greenwood was able to work his way past Sweeney on a few occasions, but Sweeney would retake third with aggressive moves in traffic.
Cronin was applying pressure to Greenwood as both riders looked to find their way past Sweeney. Late in the race, Wood held a one-second lead on Narbonne as they came up on a pack of lapped riders. Wood was forced to run wide entering turn 11, and that allowed Narbonne to close the gap to the leader.
At the finish, Wood was able to hold off Narbonne to take his second “Dash for Cash” victory in as many races. Narbonne finished in a very close second position with Sweeney rounding out the podium by holding off Greenwood and Cronin, fourth and fifth, respectively. Hildebrand, Kristofer Knopf, Riley Rodgers, Justin Landry and Kip Peterson rounded out the top-10 for the Expert Class.
Justin Pallein was the top finishing Amateur, besting Seth Robinson (second) and Eric Fogg (third).
“It was a good race for me,” said Wood after the win. “I kept my head down the whole race and knew Shane was right there. We got into some lapped traffic and that cost me a bit of time and I could feel Shane, right there, ready to capitalize, but I was able to hold onto the lead and finish on top.
“This is the class everyone focuses on and wants to win. Both races this season have been close and I expect all of them to be that way all season long – a battle to the checkered flag.”
Lightweight Grand Prix
Long-time friends and competitors, Rick Doucette and Seth Hahn, have been having some great battles thus far in the 2013 season, and the Lightweight Grand Prix on Saturday was another close one.
Both riders are currently aboard Suzuki SV650 Superbikes, but over the years they have raced a multitude of motorcycles against one another. Hahn, having just made his way back into the sport last season after many years away, has been working hard to become competitive and to give his old friend “Ricky” a battle on the track.
Doucette grabbed the lead at the drop of the green flag with Hahn following closely behind into turn 1. The 2012 class champion quickly knew he would have a fight on his hands as his motorcycle developed a misfire, causing his engine to occasionally run on only one cylinder, before fluctuating back to two. As Hahn made his way into the lead, Doucette thought of pulling into the pits, but then the bike would run as it should, allowing him to try and close the gap to the leader.
While the top-two initially checked out from the field, Sean Byrnes put in a solid effort to try and catch the leaders from third position and in the process turned the fastest lap of the race at 1:17.091. Doucette was able to make a pass for the lead on lap five, just before a red flag came out that prematurely ended what was shaping up to be a battle to the checkered flag.
Hahn was originally credited with the win, but a final review from timing and scoring gave the win to Doucette. Behind that battle, Byrnes, Glenn Coolbeth and Ted Temple rounded out the top-five.
“Ricky and I had a great battle and I got win over him in Expert GTL,” said Hahn after the second-place finish. “I thought I was going to be able to get this one from him as he looked to be having a bike issue. A couple of laps in, I took a quick look back and saw he was coming.
“In the end, he was able to get me down the front straight to take the lead shortly after a red flag came out. I would have loved for that one to go down to the last lap, but we will give him everything we got in the next one.”
The next LRRS event will be held on June 14-16, featuring the 90th annual Loudon Classic and a host of special events to celebrate the longest running motorcycle road racing event in the United States.
The weekend runs in association with Laconia Motorcycle Week and will pack a full schedule of LRRS events, along with Supermoto racing, a Stunt Show, the Granite State Legends Cars and the Gifford’s Ice Cream Bandolero Series. Combined they will make a special, action-packed weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.